Robber used stun gun, tried to steal money
By Elizabeth M. Mack • DEMOCRAT STAFF WRITER • July 21, 2009
— Bradley Harvell, an 82-year-old veteran who suffers from emphysema, has owned a .357 magnum for 25 years, but until Sunday night, he'd never fired it.
It was the powerful handgun that Harvell used to shoot and kill the man he described as resembling a western-style "train robber" who barged into his house, shot him twice with a stun gun and tried to steal his money.
Harvell shot the man twice, first in the stomach area and then in the head, during the struggle at Harvell's home on County Road 333, according to the Liberty County Sheriff's Office.
The man is identified as Octavius Barnes, 24, of Sanford, who had been staying with relatives in Bristol.
Deputy Sheriff Lt. Brigham Shuler described Barnes as dressed like a ninja. "He had on a black shirt and black trousers over his clothes that you see martial arts people wear," Shuler said. Barnes also wore black shades and a blue bandana over his mouth.
Shuler said his department will complete its investigation and forward that report to the State's Attorney's Office to decide if it should go before a grand jury for review.
Shuler explained that under Florida law, the "Castle Doctrine" allows you to defend yourself with like force if someone comes on your property. "It has to be a reasonable amount of force that was used against you for you to protect yourself or your family," he said.
"I did what I did to try and save myself," Harvell said Monday afternoon, after spending the night with his sister in Bristol. "I'm 82 years old. I've made it this far, and I want to keep on living."
Harvell had closed his Slip N' Slide bar that is connected to his home around 8 p.m. Sunday and walked inside his house an hour later. He ate some dinner dropped off by a neighbor and went to bed.
Harvell said a short time later, he heard a knock at the door.
"There were two knocks at my door," Harvell said. "I didn't get up when I heard the first one. But I decided to go see who it was on the second knock."
As Harvell cracked the door open to take a peek outside, a man dressed in a black T-shirt, black jeans with a blue bandana covering his mouth, forced his way inside.